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Police detain California couple for illegal cosmetic surgeries

A California couple performed illegal and disfiguring cosmetic surgeries on Vietnamese clients in their filthy home, filled with drugs and syringes.

Ha Nguyen, 48, and Zbigniew Makowski, 62, were arrested on suspicion of practicing medicine without a license and child endangerment. Four children also were removed from their San Jose home by child protective services, authorities said.

Nguyen and Makowski remained in custody at the Santa Clara County Jail late Wednesday night. It was unclear if the couple had retained lawyers. A call to the jail early Thursday was not immediately returned.

All victims were Vietnamese, according to medical board investigators.

One woman who received a face-lift and tummy tuck from Nguyen now has thick three-inch (7.6-centimeter) scars next to each ear, scars above each eyebrow and under her lower lip, and a 15-inch (38-centimeter) scar across her stomach, said California Medical Board spokeswoman Candis Cohen.

"We want the community to know and stay away from these people," Cohen said.

Authorities were alerted to the couple's activities by a former client of Nguyen's, according to a search warrant affidavit. The client said Nguyen was performing cosmetic surgery in her home and earning at least $500 (365 EUR) a day, while also receiving welfare, the affidavit said.

In 2003, the medical board investigated Nguyen for performing a botched genital surgery, but the woman who made the complaint moved away and the case was not pursued, according to the affidavit.

Nguyen has never been licensed in California as a physician, according to the medical board.

Makowski was her alleged accomplice, transporting patients to the house and helping clean wounds, authorities said.

The pair were to be arraigned Friday. Both were in jail Thursday - Nguyen in lieu of $150,000 (109,800 EUR)bail, Makowski in lieu of $50,000 (36,600 EUR) bail, according to a jail spokesman.

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